Utah cross country finishes sixth at NCAA Mountain Regional.
Nov. 9, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo.- The University of Utah women's cross country team captured sixth at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet Friday. The Utes were led by the fourth-place performance of senior Amanda Mergaert.
"Overall we had a very good day," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "Our team ran tough. We are really excited for this team, they ran well on a fast course. It was a really good note to end our year on."
Leading the way for the team was Mergaert who finished fourth overall in a time of 20:18.7. On the final stretch of the race, Mergaert was even with Colorado's Shalaya Kipp (20:18.1) and Weber State's Amber Henry (20:18.4), who were able to just outstretch Mergaert for the second and third spots. However, Mergaert's performance qualifies the senior for her third consecutive NCAA Championships.
Entering the day, the Utes were ranked seventh in the Mountain Region, however top-performances from the team rallied the Utes to a sixth-place finish. The finish is the second best in school history and the highest finish for the team since 2008 when it finished sixth. The performance also marks the first time ever that the Utes have beat in-state rival BYU at the regional meet.
"To beat BYU is a great tribute to our kids," Kepler said. "They are a good program, but our kids worked really hard and their training and toughness paid off today."
Trying to make a final run at qualifying for the NCAA Championships, Giselle Slotboom finished second for the Utes and 12th overall with a time of 20:57.5. Slotboom's performance earned all-region accolades, but is just shy of qualifying for the national meet.
Sophomore Susannah Hurst crossed the line third for the Utes and 29th overall with a time of 21:23.8. Finishing fourth and fifth for the Utes were Nikki Rietz (22:20.8) and Andrea Chavez (22:43.2) earning 69th and 84th, respectively.
The overall winner of the meet was Weber State followed by New Mexico and Colorado rounding out the top three.
Mergaert will compete in her final collegiate cross country race at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17 in Lousville, Ky.